Gardening Guide for Your Family

Home gardening is a great opportunity to teach your children more about nature and the world around them. You can start with a plot in the backyard, window boxes or containers, depending on what you want to grow. Don’t worry about making the garden look perfect — this is a learning experience for your children and you. Make sure you invest in tools the children can use safely before embarking on a family garden, so they can participate in the day-to-day care of the garden, too! Also consult them on what they want to grow so they feel they have a part in the process. That way everyone feels they have a piece of the garden that belongs to them. Here is more information on how to start your family home garden:

  • Basics of Gardening
  • Family Gardening
  • Gardening for Kids
  • Garden Resources
  • How To Grow A School Garden
  • How To Plant A Garden
  • Kitchen Gardening 101
  • My First Garden

Vegetable Guide

Homegrown vegetables often have more nutrients and cost less than what you’ll pay to buy them in local produce stores. It’s also more wholesome and gives you a chance to teach children about how they get food from the garden to the table. It’s a chance to do a daily outdoor chore as a family, watching the plants go from seeds to fully-shaped plants.

  • How to Guide
  • Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
  • Very Basics of Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow:

  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots, Beets, and Radishes
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Loose Leaf Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes (Indoors)
  • Vine Crops
  • Zucchini

Fruit Guide

Similar to growing vegetables, you will save time and money by investing in fruit plants. Make sure you check to see which fruit plants will thrive in your area. Citrus plants, for example, do best in tropical climates like Florida and California. If you live in areas that have four season and cold winters, you will likely have a hard time growing oranges. However, there are a wide variety of other fruits you can grow in different locations.

  • Growing Fruits in Your Garden
  • Grow Your own Fruit
  • How to Grow Fruits

How to Grow:

  • Apple Trees
  • Apricots
  • Blackberry Bushes
  • Cherries
  • Citrus Trees
  • Grapes
  • Peaches and Nectarines
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Raspberries and Blackberries
  • Strawberries

Herb Guide

For cooking enthusiasts, purchasing herbs can be expensive. Rather than making continuous trips to the grocery store, why not growing some of your own? Basil, parsley, chive — you have almost limitless options of what herbs you can grow in the backyard. This is also a chance to teach children a bit about cooking, how spices and herbs add flavor to some of their favorite foods. If you haven’t grown any herbs before, it’s a learning experience for you, too.

  • Growing Herbs Indoors
  • Herb Gardening for Beginners
  • How To Grow Herbs

How to Grow:

  • Chive
  • Dill
  • French Tarragon
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

Diagnose and Deal With Common Lawn Problems

All you have to do to obtain a lush, green, and beautiful lawn that is the envy of all your neighbors is to keep it trimmed and water it on a regular basis, right? Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy. Once you have your turf established, fungi, lack of sunlight, pests, and even the beloved family dog can plague your lawn with dry spots, brown areas, and dead places that seem like they are almost impossible to get rid of. Here are eight common lawn problems, what causes them, and what you can to do overcome them to achieve a lawn that will be the talk of your street.

Problem: White Grubs

White grubs are pesky little critters that may be responsible for your lawn looking sparse in certain areas. You may have a white grub problem if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Beetle larvae have started to feed on the roots of your grass
  • Your lawn suffers the most in the fall
  • The dead areas of your lawn roll away easily, like carpet
  • Skunks, armadillos, and gophers make an appearance in your yard to feed on these grubs on a regular basis

If you think that white grubs are responsible for the dry and dead patches in your lawn, taking care of the problem is easy. All you have to do is apply an Imidacloprid at the end of spring or the beginning of summer to enjoy a beautiful lawn throughout the year.

Problem: Fungus Disease

Fungus isn’t just a problem that lurks in the gym bags and lockers of athletes; it’s also an issue that can cause serious issues with your lawn. Fungus may be taking over your lawn if you notice that dead spots appear in your yard almost overnight and expand at a rapid pace.

Luckily, most fungal diseases can be mitigated by adjusting your watering routines or fertilization methods. For example, you may find that your lawn becomes fungus-free if you water less or fertilize at different times of the day. If you think that applying a fungicide is your only remaining option, consult with a nurseryman in your area.

Problem: Sod Webworm

If dead spots pop up arbitrarily throughout your yard, your lawn may be infested by sod webworms. To confirm this diagnosis, soak a small patch of your lawn with a solution of soapy water. After about ten minutes, you should start to see these little worms come to the surface.

Getting rid of these little worms may take a little bit of effort. To start, aerate your lawn to reduce the amount of thatch and then apply a pesticide. If you’re not sure which pesticide to go with, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been known to be an effective way to control these worms.

Problem: Dog Damage

Although you love your dog, you might not love what it does to your lawn. If your dog has a favorite place to go to the bathroom outside on your lawn, this area may start to dry out thanks to its excrement. While it’s more difficult than it sounds, the best way to keep these small dry spots from taking over your lawn is to keep your dog away from them. Once you’ve done this, soak these areas with a hose on a regular basis and your lawn should get back to its uniform, green appearance in just a few weeks.

Problem: A Striped Lawn

Stripes are great on clothing and accessories, but they don’t make such a hot statement on your lawn. If you notice that your lawn has strips of dark green turf and other long strips that are yellow and dried out, this is a result of uneven fertilizer application.

To remedy the issue, the next time you’re out applying fertilizer, make sure that you are overlapping your tracks with the spreader. However, if these stripes appear to be more tan than yellow, the issue may reside with your lawn mower. Adjust your lawn mower to cut more evenly and you’ll likely find that the striping problem disappears over time. Investing in a professional lawn mowing is often an affordable way to get issues fixed and catch the ear of a professional who can advise on how to prevent future lawn problems.

Problem: Dry Spots

Dry spots occur when one area of your lawn dries out before other parts. Often, these patches are caused by:

  • Compacted soil that prohibits grass roots from fully developing
  • People walking repeatedly on your lawn
  • A clogged or broken sprinkler system

To eradicate dry spots throughout your lawn, aerate it on an annual basis for $50 to $200. If this doesn’t help, watch your sprinklers when they run and adjust or repair them as necessary.

Problem: Thin Grass

Your lawn needs plenty of sunlight to survive. However, even in the shade, your grass should still be fairly dense. If you find that moss grows just fine in shady areas but your grass suffers, prune the trees or bushes — which could cost between $200 and $665 per tree — and aerate the space instead of watering it. If this doesn’t remedy the issue, you may need to switch to a different type of grass, like fine fescue, that is more tolerant of shade.

Problem: Chinch Bugs

Tiny insects, known as chinch bugs, suck the juice from blades of grass and cause spots that turn yellow and then eventually fade into a brownish color. If you have a St. Augustine lawn, you may be particularly at risk for a chinch bug infestation.

Like other lawn-infesting insects, it may take some time and effort to clear these critters away completely. Typically, aerating your lawn and applying an appropriately labelled pesticide can control their presence so that your lawn can thrive.

Remember, if you neglect your lawn during the spring or the fall and fail to figure out what may be causing the unsightly spots in your yard, you could end up paying for it for the rest of the year. Although identifying the exact cause of your lawn care woes and finding a solution that works may take a few cases of trial and error, it will be well worth it when you can confidently exclaim that your lawn is the best looking one in your neighborhood.

Know More About Gardening at Home with Kids

If you like digging in the dirt, you might enjoy gardening, too. Growing a garden with your kids will help you learn about plants. You might grow flowers or vegetables in your yard or inside your home in containers. As you work to take care of your plants, you will need to make sure they get water and sun to grow.

Gardening Basics

To grow a garden, you will need space for planting, seeds or plants, and tools. An adult can help you work in a garden. Adults can also teach you about caring for plants. Always handle tools carefully with an adult’s supervision so you don’t get hurt.

  • Gardening With Children and Youth: Dig in the dirt to grow different flowers and vegetables.
  • Garden Safety for Kids Part 2: Using Tools and Preventing Injury: Use tools for gardening carefully.
  • Gardening for Kids: People of all ages and abilities can have fun gardening.
  • Gardening Ideas for Children with Special Needs: Choose a special gardening project to grow plants.
  • Children in the Garden: Vegetables often grow quickly, so you can see what you planted.
  • Got Dirt? You don’t need a big space for growing.
  • Build a Bean Tower: A bean tower will support bean plants as they grow.
  • Gardening With Young Children: Dig in! Garden in the spring with an adult to grow plants.
  • Child Safety in the Garden: Stay safe in the garden by using tools carefully.

Vegetable Gardens

Grow food for your family with a vegetable garden. Vegetable gardens can be any size, even as small as a container or two. Plant vegetables that you like or want to eat. You can then watch as they grow and develop into food that is ready to eat.

  • Let’s Get Growing in Containers: Grow vegetables in containers if you don’t have room in your yard.
  • Kids Thrive with Vegetable Gardening: Growing vegetables might make you healthier because you can eat what you grow.
  • Benefits of Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables: Planting a vegetable garden can give you exercise.
  • Gardening Grows Healthy Kids: Start a small vegetable garden to grow vegetables.
  • Kids in the Garden: Nutritious and Fun: Start a garden by planning the vegetables you will grow and planting the seeds.
  • Growing Healthy Kids With Gardening: Lots of people have fun digging in the dirt.
  • Appetite for Change: Teaching Kids About Organics and Gardening: Learn about organic gardening by planting an organic garden.
  • Benefits of Gardening for Children: Learn how to take care of the earth by planting a garden.
  • Edible Gardens: An edible garden has plants you can eat.
  • Gardening With Kids: Planning a garden can be exciting as you choose the plants you want to grow.
  • Planting Pizza: A pizza garden has plants you need to make pizza, such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, and basil.

Flower Gardens

If you like colorful flowers, try growing some in your own garden. Flowers might bloom for one season only, or they could come back every year. Some flowers like the sun, and others like to grow in shady spots. Choose flowers in colors you like, and have fun tending them in your yard. If you need to, consult with a gardening contractor on which ones will thrive best in your climate.

  • Keeping Kids Safe in the Flower Garden: Working in the garden can be fun, but stay safe as you use tools.
  • My First Garden: Growing a flower garden involves different tasks.
  • Garden Themes for Kids: Plan an ABC garden with flowers beginning with different letters of the alphabet.
  • Childhood in the Garden: Spending time in a flower garden can teach you about flowers.
  • Butterfly Garden Activities Stir Children’s Sense of Wonder: Plant a butterfly garden with colorful flowers.
  • Anthurium, Flamingo Flower: Some flowers have unusual names, such as the flamingo flower.
  • Kid-Friendly Flower Guide: Learn about different kinds of flowers so you can choose the ones you want to plant.
  • How Does Your Garden Grow?: Start with a little garden so you can learn how to grow plants.
  • Plants for Kids: Understand how plants grow and then tend them in a garden.
  • Exploring Flowers: Learn about flowers by observing how they grow.
  • The Sunflower is a Sun Flower: Sunflowers grow quickly into tall, colorful flowers.

Gardening Projects

Projects help you learn about gardening. You can even work on gardening projects during the winter. Try different projects, such as growing plants inside your home or growing a garden with a theme. An adult can help you plan a gardening project.

  • Victory Garden Project: During World War II, families planted victory gardens for extra food.
  • Flora Explorers: Discovering the Structures and Needs of Plants: Learn about the things plants need to grow.
  • Make Your Own Herbarium: Make a herbarium out of dried leaves from herb plants.
  • Winter Garden Projects Can Be Fun, Too: Try gardening projects over the winter, such as a windowsill garden.
  • Forcing Bulbs for Indoor Beauty in Winter: Plant flower bulbs inside during the winter so they will bloom.
  • Easy Water-Wise Gardening: Plant a garden full of plants that don’t need lots of water to thrive.
  • The Value of Soil: An apple can teach you about the earth and its soil.
  • Traveling Seeds: Plants spread to different places by seeds that travel on the wind or on clothing.
  • Vegetable Gardening in Containers: Learn how to grow vegetable plants in containers on a porch or deck.
  • Watering Container Gardens: Keep your plants growing in containers healthy with lots of water.
  • Teaching Your Kids to Garden with Garbage: Learn how to turn garbage into compost to feed your plants.